Page C1.1 . 03 December 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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Sioux City Orpheum Restoration

by George Lindblade

The Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa was once a grand vaudeville and movie palace. Designed by the famous Chicago architects Rapp and Rapp, it opened in 1927 and boasted spectacular chandeliers, a gold leaf covered dome, and the grandest of lobbies.

Over the decades, the theater suffered numerous insensitive remodels but has recently returned spectacularly to life thanks to a dedicated team of restoration expert and craftspeople.

The original theater was financed by local businessman Art Sanford, a successful entrepreneur with a strong sense of community. In addition to stylish spaces, Sanford's gift to Sioux City included air conditioning, a rare luxury in 1927.

Early on, the Orpheum was host to movies and traveling shows and home to local performances and events. Then, over the years, life-styles and entertainment tastes changed. In 1968, the building was converted to a modern movie theater, and the stage shows came to an end.   >>>

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ArchWeek Image

The restored Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, as seen from the balcony.
Photo: G.R. Lindblade

ArchWeek Image

The once-grand proscenium arch of the Orpheum Theatre, before restoration.
Photo: G.R. Lindblade

 

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